Sheikh Jamil Yahya, chairman of the Bangsamoro Supreme Council of Ulama (BSCU) and Grand Imam of the Mindanao Grand Mosque in Marawi City, announced that they had withdrawn the “fatwa” or Islamic legal pronouncement against Senator Chiz Escudero.
“After listening to his explanation, I issued a statement withdrawing our fatwa against Sen. Escudero and I request Muslims all over the Philippines to vote for him,” Yahya said.
The religious leader had earlier issued the fatwa against Escudero, claiming he was “anti-Muslim.” He called on Filipino Muslims not to vote for the re-electionist senator.
The pronouncement was based on the senator’s alleged criticism of the meeting between President Benigno Aquino III and Moro Islamic Liberation Front Chairman Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim last April in Japan regarding the creation of Bangsamoro.
“Sen. Escudero explained his position, and we now understand that he is not anti-Muslim. Marami siyang nagawa para sa kabutihan ng mga Muslim. At meron pa siyang darating pang mga programa (He has done a lot for the welfare of Muslims. And he will undertake more programs for Muslims),” Yahya said.
“We are now (enjoining) the electorate Muslims all over the Philippines to support and vote Sen. Chiz Escudero in this coming election,” Yahya added.
Earlier, Escudero lauded government efforts to step up negotiations for a final peace agreement with the MILF after negotiators signified a target for a deal to be signed before the third State of the Nation Address (Sona) of President Benigno Aquino III in July.
“I have been consistently supporting government initiatives to achieve enduring peace in Mindanao through giving substance to the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro, in which members of the 16th Congress will play a big part of,” Escudero said.